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Bridget Boland 

When: Thu., Sept. 20, 7 p.m. 2012

It's a good month for fictional childbirth assistants: Not only does Michael Chabon's sun-eclipsing new novel, Telegraph Avenue, have as two of its main characters a pair of midwives, but Bridget Boland's critically acclaimed debut effort, The Doula, also uses as muse and setting the birth industry and the people who populate it. It's a powerful metaphor, to be sure, and Boland, herself a doula, captures the whole cycle of life through the eyes of a character whose job allows and requires her to see it all: Caro Connors -- doula, undertaker's daughter, former nurse, a woman whose life seems to be touched by tragedy and joy in equal measure. The book follows Connors after she witnesses her best friend miscarry and is accused of malpractice. Take that, Chabon. Boland reads on Thursday, Sept. 20, at A Great Good Place for Books (6120 LaSalle Ave., Oakland). 7 p.m., free. 510-339-7315 or GreatGoodPlace.Indiebound.com

— Ellen Cushing

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